Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Wrong again

I didn’t think I could be shocked by anything in US politics anymore. I was wrong. That's literally, literally, a Democrat campaign event. That's really the candidate beating a woman to death in effigy. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A Few Heist Novels

I have been reading or rereading some heist novels during the lockdown. Here are a few micro-reviews.
  • Black Wings Has My Angel, Chaze. Romantic heist noir in the James M Cain tradition. A.
  • Fallout, Disher. Contemporary crime in Australia. Parker-lite but fast and lean. B.
  • Northern Heist, O'Rawe. Based on a real heist in Ireland. A bit arty, but an interesting setting. C+.
  • The Rare Coin Score, Stark. One of the very best Parkers. Personalities destroy the heist. A.
  • Clean Break, White. The basis for Kubrick's The Killing. The film follows the book closely. A.
  • The Case of the Unhappy Angels, Homes. A hard boiled detective story from the 1940s. By the author of Out of the Past. B+.
  • The Big Gold Dream, Himes. Himes's precise, cold, vivid prose, with the usual manic plot. A-.
  • Dead Skip, Gores. Not a heist (although Parker makes an appearance!) but a hard boiled detective yarn from the early 70s B+. 
  • The Grifters, Thompson. One of Thompson's best: short, fast, mean. A.
  • Breakout, Stark. One of the weaker Parkers. C-. Still better than anything by Don Winslow!
  • Hostage for a Hood, White. Another winner from Lionel White, whom I shall read more of. The heist goes wrong even before it starts, and turns into a kidnapping. A-.
  • The Black Echo, Connelly. Not really a heist, but Harry Bosch investigates a heist. I liked it but won’t rush to read another. B-. 
  • Prelude to a certain midnight, Kersh. Gerald Kersh was the best selling author in England in the 40s. This is a unusual, intense, dark and funny book. Not the strongest plot but one of the best books on this list. Easily the harshest one. A.
  • Swag, Leonard. Heists in my old neighborhood, the suburbs of Detroit. Fast and funny, but somehow not involving. B.
  • The Name of the Game is Death, Marlowe. A terrific read from 1962. Jim Thompson with a toothache, and as good. A thief with a fondness for pets but not for people. A.
  • Final Notice, Gores. The second DKA novel, almost as good as Dead Skip. B.